Milligan soccer coach Lilly out with visa problems; assistant promoted to interim head coach

Joe Avento • Updated Sep 11, 2018 at 9:31 PM

Four games into the season, the Milligan College men’s soccer team is in a state of transition with its head coach having to step down after being stuck in Scotland with visa problems.

The school was forced to replace head coach David Lilly when it learned that his current visa situation will keep him from working in the United States.

Lilly, in his first season as Milligan’s coach, is a citizen of the United Kingdom. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office denied the college’s petition to hire a nonimmigrant worker.

Assistant coach Kyle Findlay was named the interim head coach, effective immediately.

The Buffaloes were off to a 3-1 start under Lilly, a Milligan graduate and a member of the school’s first conference championship team.

Lilly came to Milligan from East Tennessee State, where he was an assistant coach. It was assumed his temporary work visa would transfer for the new job, which was considered a routine procedure. When it was ultimately rejected, Milligan decided Lilly should go back home to Scotland to get it worked out so he could re-enter the United States and get back to work.

When that application was denied as well, he was out of luck for the time being.

“He’s kind of stuck over there right now,” Milligan Vice President for Athletics and Student Development Mark Fox said Tuesday. “It’s not good. David has been a great addition to our campus. He’s a Milligan alum and highly qualified.

“We’re just trying to regroup here and get the focus on our team and at the same time work with David to see if we can get him back in the near future.”

More immediately, Fox said they’re trying to get Lilly help to take care of his personal belongings. He left behind a car and has an apartment with a roommate.

“We have to immediately help him get him over here to get all that handled if we can,” Fox said. “Then, long term, put together a plan that will allow him to return legally and be employed by us.”

Milligan’s next four games are all at home. Findlay’s debut as head coach comes Wednesday at 7 p.m. when the Buffs play host to Columbia International University at Anglin Field.

“We’re fortunate we have the assistant we have in place,” Fox said. “He’s really good as well. They’ve worked together for a while. From that perspective, we’re very fortunate to have Kyle here.”

Lilly, originally from Coatbridge, Scotland, graduated from Milligan with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and earned two graduate degrees at ETSU — a master’s degree in business administration in 2012 and a master’s degree in kinesiology and sport management in 2014.

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